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to own the superiority of the German to the Magyar tongue. Hence the justification of these and similar irrational clauses of the measure is first their necessity, and secondly their success. Before 1867 Hungary was a discontented province, kept in order by, German troops: it is now the most contented and patriotic part of the empire.
The only part of the scheme which is open to really serious objection is the financial part. In this question the Hungarians must be considered as having made an unworthy use of their strong political position. In 1867 the Austrian national debt amounted to 3046 million florins, the yearly interest being 127 millions. To this large interest the Hungarians, who plaintively urged that the virgin credit of the new kingdom must not start with a burden greater than it was able to bear, refused to contribute more than 29} millions. Throughout the negociations they persisted in putting the question, not what it was just that Hungary should pay, but what Hungary, with advantage to herself and without injury to her political future, could pay. Through this concession the remaining provinces were burdened with a debt which they were positively unable to meet, and the Hungarians must be held mainly answerable for the disastrous repudiation of 1868, of which they had ingeniously avoided the direct responsibility.
It was further provided that from January, 1868, to December, 1877, the military and other common expenses connected with the Foreign and Finance Department should be defrayed by the two halves of the empire, in very different proportions.
Cisleithania was to pay 70, Hungary only 30 per cent. Thus the latter was put in possession of half the power in the Imperial system, with less than a third of the burdens attaching to that power.
Of the defects which have been noticed in the dual system, viz., the double capital, the absence of a single supreme Parliament, and the financial anomaly-it may be observed that the second only is irremediable. As confidence in the Government increases, it may well be hoped that the Hungarians themselves will recognize the inconvenience of a double administrative centre and the uselessness of a financial prerogative, which, inasmuch as it lacks its due counterpart of financial responsibility, could never be practically exercised without leading to discontent, if not to revolution.
From this point the internal history of the two halves of the empire flows in two different channels. Graf Andrassy, the Hungarian Premier, had a comparatively easy task before him. There were several reasons for this. In the first place, the predominance of the Magyars in Hungary was more assured than
that of the Germans in Cisleithania. It is true that they numbered only 5,000,000 out of the 16,000,000 inhabitants ; but in these 5,000,000 were included almost all the rank, wealth, and intelligence of the country. Hence they formed in the Reichstag a compact and homogeneous majority, under which the remaining Slovaks and Croatians soon learnt to range themselves. In the second place, Hungary had the great advantage of starting in a certain degree afresh. Her government was not bound by the traditional policy of former Vienna ministries, and by the maneuvre we have noticed it had managed to keep its financial credit unimpaired. In the third place, as those who are acquainted with Hungarian history well know, Parliamentary institutions had for a long time flourished in Hungary. Indeed the Magyars, who among their many virtues can hardly be credited with the virtue of humility, assert that the world is mistaken in ascribing to England the glory of having invented representative government, and claim this glory for themselves. Hence one of the main difficulties with which the Cisleithanian Government had to deal was already solved for Graf Andrassy and his colleagues.
For this reason, it will be the main object of the following pages to describe the birth and growth of political freedom on the Austrian side of the Leitha, the parallel events that took place in Hungary being merely introduced by way of contrast and illustration.
The Reichsrath which met on May 22, 1867, was, in every way one of the most memorable in the history of Austria. Each of the members then assembled must have felt that their country was in the midst of a terrible crisis, and that it depended mainly on their exertions to save that country from ruin. The speech from the throne, after expressing a hope that the scheme of federation with Hungary would be sanctioned by the House, announced the intention of the Government to re-establish ministerial responsibility and to bring the military department once more under the authority of Parliament. The Reichsrath's first fight was with the generals. It will be hardly credited that a colossal scheme for the fortification of Vienna, the cost of which would amount to a million and a half of our money, had been set on foot by the Commander-in-chief without a word of consultation with the representatives of the people. Baron Becke, the new Minister of War, declared openly in the House that he was first made acquainted with the proceedings by the public journals. Austrian Constitutionalism may be said to date from the day that Beust, now feeling he had a Parliament to back him, summarily stopped the works and abolished the College of
General-Adjutants, an institution which for many years had defied Parliament and rendered liberal government an impossibility.
The House then proceeded to pass three most important measures. The first related to the Octroyirung' (i. e., carrying over the head of Parliament) of laws by the Emperor.
It was ordained that, for the future, every octroyirung should be made under the responsibility of the Ministry ; 2, that no such measure should have the power of setting aside any fundamental law of the state (Staatsgrundgesetz), of imposing any fresh burden on the taxpayers, or alienating public property; 3, that any such measure should become null and void if it were not notified within four weeks after the meeting of the Reichsrath. Thus the sting was utterly taken out of this old instrument of military despotism.
The law relating to ministerial responsibility appears, to an English mind at any rate, a somewhat curious piece of legislation. It was chiefly aimed at preventing the interference of the peers, it being evidently held that the condemnation of a minister in the Lower House could be annulled by the refusal of the Upper House to endorse the vote. It provided for the erection of a permanent tribunal, consisting of twelve members, elected by each House, not from their own midst, but from the ordinary judges and State-lawyers, before which tribunal either House bad the
power of bringing any member of the Ministry on a distinct charge to be set forth in the indictment. It was further provided that a charge brought against a minister and supported by twothirds of either House should suffice to suspend the minister ipso facto from his office. Thus there was no recognition of the * solidarity of the Cabinet, and nothing but a distinct offence was held as sufficient ground for removing a minister from power.* The depth to which Parliamentary government had sunk is told more expressively by the mere statement of this law than by the most elaborate description.
The third law concerned the freedom of public meeting. It provided that every political club (verein) should notify to the magistrate the nature and object of the club, the names and number of its members, as also the place and time at which each of its meetings was to be held. Further, it gave the Government power to break up any society or meeting, the object of which was inconsistent with the public safety or the public good.' This last clause was added by request of the Cabinet, which
* This law is probably borrowed from the American constitution, which secures to the President a certain fixed period of office, while subjecting him to the possibility of impeachment. It is needless to point out that it is properly inconsistent with the English system of Cabinet government.
declared that, without some such powers, it would be impossible to offer the requisite resistance to the feudal-clerical opposition in Bohemia. Within these limits, no obstacles were offered to the formation of political clubs or the holding of public meetings.
So far the proceedings of the Reichsrath had run smoothly enough. But all the true friends of freedom in Austria felt that there still existed one fatal obstacle to all their patriotic endeavours. As long as the Concordat formed part of the law of the land, the priests had it in their power to check the free development of the nation in the very bud, and to talk of freedom was a mere mockery. There were two ways of dissolving the unholy treaty with Rome, Either the Concordat could be directly abrogated and a new set of laws introduced affirming the equality of all religions and sects in the eyes of the State, or a series of half measures might be passed through the Reichsrath, which, by laying down principles inconsistent with the Concordat, would gradually encroach on the ecclesiastical prerogative, and render the former position of the priests untenable. The objection to the first course, which was in every other way preferable, was its impracticability. The Reichsrath could not have commanded a majority for so radical a measure, still less could the nation be expected to endorse it. Hence the proposition of the veteran Mühlfeld was rejected, and the abstract motion of Dr. Herbst, affirming the expediency of new laws to regulate the action of the State on the three subjects of marriage, education, and religion, was carried by a majority of 134—22. So ended this eventsul session.
It was well that Parliament had not adjourned before declaring -in principle at any rate—its willingness to grant the people religious freedom ; for this act of theirs encouraged an expression of popular feeling during the vacation which greatly strengthened the bands of the ministers. On the 5th of September, a monster meeting of 1500 schoolmasters, from all parts of Austria, was held in Vienna, in which it was resolved, that for the proper attainment of their ends in the cause of education, a complete independence from the authority of the Church was requisite. There is reason to believe that, if the Government had taken the necessary steps, they might have found support from an unexpected quarter, namely, from the lower clergy. It is said that at this time there was not an editor in Vienna whose office was not daily flooded with letters from these poor men, who were bound by the Concordat to a state of the most abject servitude under their superiors. No one, however, but Mühlfeld was found brave enough to propose the liberation of the inferior Vol. 131.-No. 261.
priests and the abrogation of the law conferring legal immunity on the bishops.
On the 23rd of September, the Reichsrath commenced its autumn sitting, and at once proceeded to appoint a Committee to draw up measures for the reconstitution of the laws affecting marriage and education. The new Marriage Law provided, 1, that the jurisdiction in all questions affecting marriage should be transferred from the priestly to the ordinary civil tribunals; 2, that if a priest refused to perform the rite of marriage (as, e.g., when man and wife were of two different religions), the civil magistrate, after acquainting himself with the refusal of the priest, should himself sanction and register the union of the couple. The new School Law gave over the management of all religious teaching to the Church or religious society in question, but ordained that all other subjects taught in the schools should be made entirely independent of their influence ; 2, it provided that all schools maintained by the State, the provincial, or municipal authorities, should be open to all citizens without distinction of religion ; 3, that the office of schoolmaster should be open to any candidate who had proved his competence in an examination to be appointed by the State; 4, that all funds held by the State for the purposes of education, except where a reservation had been made by the testator, should be applied to their end without prejudice in favour of any religious sect; 5, that school-boards should be appointed in every district (Bezirke) and parish for the carrying-out of the above regulations, and that the organization of these boards was to be left to the Landtage. This last unfortunate clause did much to neutralize the effects of the whole law, by opening a door to clerical opposition in the provincial assemblies
. Through its baneful operation much of the measure has, up to the present time, remained a dead letter.
The House then undertook the task of drawing up a number of fundamental State-laws (Staatsgrundgesetze), which were to constitute the Magna Charta of the Austrian citizen. These laws are four in number, and the first is divided into twenty articles. It would be beyond the scope of this essay to give the details of these laws. But a glance may be cast at the most important of them, and the main alterations effected by them in the constitution.
Law I. Article 2 declares · All citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. This infringes Article 14 of the Concordat, which gives immunity to the bishops, and provides that a priest condemned by a court of law shall undergo his punishment in a house of ecclesiastical discipline. Article 3 declares 'All public offices are open to all citizens.' Before the passing of this law a